What is co-sleeping? Ohio mom Brook Hunter charged with involuntary manslaughter after the death of two children
Brook Hunter, 23, from Cincinnati, Ohio, was indicted on involuntary manslaughter and endangering child charges on Wednesday, September 14, after her second newborn child died due to co-sleeping. Brook Hunter reportedly lost her first child as a result of co-sleeping last year.
Brook Hunter was warned against the risks associated with the controversial activity in the wake of the death of her first child, Assistant Prosecutor Amy Clausing told TODAY in a statement. Hunter will face involuntary manslaughter charges because she had already been warned against co-sleeping.
According to TODAY, Hunter’s six-week-old infant died on June 22, 2022, exactly one year after the death of her first child. Amy Clausing told the website that if convicted, Brook Hunter will face up to 11 years in prison.
Brook Hunter endangered her child with controversial activity, unacceptable in the medical community
Co-sleeping is an activity where parents and their newborns sleep in the same bed, couch or chair. While many parents prefer this method as they believe it facilitates bonding and is a common practice in many cultures, the activity is quite divisive and unacceptable in the medical field. Despite the dangers involved with the activity, it is still quite popular in the U.S.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics website updated in June 2022, parents should not share their beds with infants as it leads to suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Each year, approximately 3500 infants die from sleep-related infant deaths in the U.S. The leading cause of these deaths is accidental suffocation and strangulation, AAP reported.
In the report, the AAP warned parents against co-sleeping with their infants. In a statement, they said:
“The AAP understands and respects that many parents choose to routinely bed share for a variety of reasons, including facilitation of breastfeeding, cultural preferences, and a belief that it is better and safer for their infant, However, based on the evidence, the AAP is unable to recommend bed sharing under any circumstances.”
The report suggested that for the first year the infants should sleep in a crib in the parents’ room, close to the parents. If not for a year, then for six months co-sleeping should be avoided at all costs. This practice reportedly reduces the risk of SIDS by 50 per cent. The report said:
“This arrangement also reduces SIDS risk and removes the possibility of suffocation, strangulation and entrapment that may occur when the infant is sleeping in the adult bed.”
The report also advised parents to use a firm, flat, non-inclined sleep surface like a stiff mattress on a crib with fitted sheets to avoid suffocation. They also cautioned against the use of products that are inclined for more than 10 degrees.
There is an active warrant for Brook Hunter’s arrest in Ohio
According to multiple reports, a warrant was issued for Hunter’s arrest on Wednesday, September 14. But as of Friday, no arrests have been made by the police.
Prosecutors told TODAY that charges are rarely filed in co-sleeping infant deaths, but since Hunter was warned last year following the death of her first child, she will be prosecuted in the court of law.
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